Skagway Traditional Council
Skagway Traditional Council (STC) is a federally recognized tribal government based in Skagway, AK, located in the traditional territory of the Chilkoot Tlingit people.
The area was once predominantly controlled by Lukaaxh.ádi Clan who were responsible for the care and use of the “Grease Trail” (Chilkoot Trail). Prior to the Klondike Gold Rush, the trail was used as a trade route for coastal and interior tribal clans to trade items such as copper, hooligan (eulachon) oil, dried seaweed, dried clams/cockles, hide, game meat and parts, smoked & dried salmon and more.
The 1899 Klondike Gold Rush changed what was once known as tribal life forever. The influx of population by the Gold Rush stampeders introduced new commodities and challenges. The Clan with their leader, Lunáat fought hard to keep their traditional land and land rights. Through hardship and perseverance, the Tlingit people of Skagway were forced to adapt to new lifestyles while continuing to fight to preserve their way of life, culture, and language.
In October 1932, with the opening of the St. Pius Mission School, run by the Sisters of St. Ann and Father Gallant, brought Alaska Native Children from across the State of Alaska. The number of children taken from their homelands to Skagway is unknown at this time, but Skagway Traditional Council is working to recover documentation. Many of the children suffered through the disconnect with their family and the communities they came from. Some of the boarding school children later settled in Skagway and made it their home.
Today, Skagway Traditional Council is a diverse and unique tribe that includes members from at least 5 distinct Alaska Native and Canadian First Nation cultural groups and are actively building cooperative working relationships with the federal, state, and municipal governments, and with each other (neighboring tribes). The tribes currently work on programs in areas of general assistance, child welfare, waste management, air and water quality, healthy salmon/hooligan runs, environmental education, social and cultural education, archeology, historic preservation, land rights consultations, and more. The goals of the tribe are set forth by the elected 5-member tribal council.
More information about Skagway Traditional Council can be found by visiting their website at www.skagwaytraditional.org